Friday night will mark the fifth time in six years that Sierra head coach Jeff Harbison and his football squad will make a Sac-Joaquin Section postseason appearance.
The No. 9 T’Wolves are set to open up the 16-team Division IV tournament on the road at 7 p.m. against No. 8 Colfax, a team that’s a spitting image of Sierra with its offensive style of play and across the board statistically as well.
And before Harbison took over the post at Sierra pre-2005, he watched head coach Tony Martello and Colfax take on in the playoffs. “Colfax is for real,” said Harbison, in his ninth year at Sierra. “Coach Martello has been doing this for years. I watched them years ago in the playoffs, and watching (Martello’s) offense steered me to go toward the spread.”
Sierra (7-3) has been spreading it out all season with senior QB Jake Pruitt (2,807 yards, 33 TDs, 8 INTs).
Colfax (8-2) has itself a senior slinger of its own in Michael Wilson, who has thrown for 40 touchdowns and 2,869 yards this year.
For Sierra, looking at the Falcons of the Pioneer Valley League is like staring at a mirror.
“It’s amazing how similar we are yards-wise,” Harbison said. “We’ve had to adjust our game plan quite a bit. With the VOL being a run-oriented (league), now we’re playing against a spread team that runs it right. It’s a whole different game.”
Sierra is averaging 127 rushing yards per game to Colfax’s 125.
Both squads are averaging 286 passing yards per game and Sierra’s 414 total yards per game is only two yards higher than what the Falcons are averaging.
Colfax is 6-0 at home this year and its only two losses came during PVL play against Center of Antelope and Placer of Auburn.
The Falcons also have two 1,000-yard receivers in Chas Reisinger (16 TDs) and Kale Bryant (11 TDs), and a third threat in Chris Harshman (534 yards).
But Sierra has some weapons of its own in senior WR Bryson Sanders ( 711 yards, 6 TDs), Lucas Widmer (855 yards, 10 TDs) and Hunter Johnson (683 yards, 9 TDs).
Sierra has been defending the pass well of late.
The T’Wolves didn’t give up a passing touchdown until the final week of VOL during a 54-12 blowout win over Weston Ranch. Their last touchdown allowed through the air was during a 61-58 win over Chavez in the preseason.
“After the debacle versus Chavez we made some personnel adjustments and really focused on defending the deep ball,” Harbison concluded. “(Colfax) is predominantly a passing team, but they do have a kid that can run the ball and they can pick up yardage on the ground.
“We’re healthy, and that’s really important. I think we’re playing good football right now.”
The winner of Sierra-Colfax will play the winner of No. 1 Central Catholic (9-1) and No. 16 Marysville (6-4) in the quarterfinals Nov. 22.